Five persons have been held in connection with the fire tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple complex even as the toll has risen to 108 with two more persons succumbing to injuries in hospitals this morning. One person died at KIMS hospital at Thiruvananthapuram and another at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital, a statement from the Chief Minister’s office said.
Police said five workers associated with the contractor of the fireworks display have been taken into custody. The contract for the fireworks had been taken by two groups led by Surendran and Krishnan Kutty, they said. Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch, Ananathakrishnan would again visit the spot this morning to take stock of the situation, an official release said.
Government medical teams would visit all hospitals where the 383 injured have been admitted to assess the situation, it said. The devastating fire had engulfed the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi Temple complex at nearby Paravoor during an unauthorised display of fireworks early yesterday morning.
The Kerala government had ordered a judicial probe and by a retired High Court Judge as also a probe by the Crime Branch. The tragedy had struck around 3.30 AM. The fireworks, for which no permission had been granted by Revenue and police officials, had started at midnight as part of an annual festival and thousands of people had gathered to witness it.
The mishap occurred as sparks of the fireworks fell on the store room ‘Kambapura’ and the fire crackers kept there exploded with a deafening noise. The blaze spread quickly trapping devotees within the complex. Yesterday Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh to kin of each of those killed, Rs two lakh for seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who termed the incident as “heart-rending” and “shocking”, had announced Rs two lakh each as compensation for the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 each for the injured. He had flown in here and taken stock of the situation. Police sources said a case has been registered against temple authorities and explosive licensees under section 307 (Attempt to murder), and 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) of IPC and under section 4 of Explosives Substances Act.